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The stunning maiden mile win in 1-52.5 by Mossdale Art at Winton in December has put the spotlight once again on ‘Mossdale’ horses raced by former Northern Southland and now Cromwell breeder Archie Affleck and his wife Margaret. “Yeah that first start was pretty good. Goodness knows whether this is the peak or there’s more to come. Time will tell. I think the Hopes think she’s a bit special,” he said. The Mossdale Harness Racing prefix has been around since 1993 and stems from the Mossdale Clydesdale Stud near Otama which was owned by the late Thomas Logan, Archie’s Grandfather. It was later relocated to Tapanui where it’s now run by Archie’s brother Bill. “I was being a bit of a smart ass one day and called a horse Mossdale Flyer. After that we just keep calling everything Mossdale.” Mossdale Flyer was by Lake Hills Jeb out of Lady. Lady was by Holmes Hanover out of Lady Sherwood who was by Armbro Hurricane out of Zenover. So this is the dual gaited family that’s produced juvenile trotter Harvey Wilson and Zebec and pacing stars Elsu and Motoring Magic. “We leased that mare (Lady) off Bob McArdle.” Looking back on the history of the Mossdale Stud and in 1932 the then Governor General of New Zealand Lord Bledisloe visited the stud. It was the same year the first Bledisloe Cup was played for between the All Blacks and The Wallabies. The Cup is named after Lord Bledisloe. Like the Standardbred industry the Clydesdale industry is suffering from a decline in breeding numbers. In the 2009/2010 season 97 mares were served in New Zealand while last season only 47 were put in foal. Archie Affleck with wife Margaret and their grandchildren with Mossdale Art at Winton after her second win there - Photo Bruce Stewart  Archie Affleck grew up in Northern Southland and his father (also Archie) instilled a strong work ethic in him and the boys of the family. “My father was a Scotsman so he kept us working. I had four brothers and we all knew that we had to work if we wanted to go farming,” he said. And farming young Archie did. He and Margaret farmed 4000 acres North East of Riversdale up the Waikaia Valley where they ran sheep and beef. “We just kept buying bits.” They have since sold the farm and moved to Cromwell. “The last bit sold in March but we’ve been selling down for a year or two. All the good stuff has gone to dairy but the hill land is still beef and lamb.” They’ve now taken on a completely different challenge, growing cherries on the three hectare property they’ve owned for three years.    “This is a new experience. We’re picking this year after just three years but usually it takes four. Growing them on the wire makes it a bit quicker. Most of them go overseas but the local market has been pretty good this year. It’s a first year on our orchard but out daughter (Jane Miscisco) is in her second year so she should get a very good crop this year.” On the Standardbred front all of the Affleck’s mares now reside in Christchurch. “We could have run them here in Cromwell but the horse transport trucks don’t go past. I didn’t want to be loading up horses and carting them round. They’re up at Dancingonmoonlight.” So getting back to how his racing and breeding interest began, it was while living in Northern Southland that Affleck ventured into racing and breeding Standardbreds initially, with Jaccka Lodge’s Charlie Smaill. “Charlie pushed us into it. I was keen though because it was a bit of an outside interest to farming.” The first horse they raced was Keyali which was bred by another Northern Southland breeder Neil Timms. She was by Gaines Minbar out of Keyanau and had her first start at Invercargill in February 1987 when trained by Phil Cross. From January the following year Hori Lee took over the training and she won three races in a row. “We thought we were made and then the next telephone call was to say she was lame. It brings you back down to earth again.” She ended up winning seven races from forty nine starts before going to the broodmare paddock. The mare’s first foal was Kute Jaccka (Holmes Hanover) which won four races. “She was a big strong mare.” Once Kute Jaccka retired from racing Affleck started to breed more seriously. Kute Jaccka’s first foal Mossdale Kara qualified at the annual Balfour grass track meeting in December 2005 for trainer Tony Barron but never raced. She had been the mare responsible for rejuvenating the Mossdale breed, leaving Mossdale Conner (13 wins), Mossdale Major (2 wins), Mossdale Sue (2 wins) and Mossdale Rose (6 wins). Mossdale Major is also the dam of Affleck’s latest star Mossdale Art. Mossdale Conner is the best horse Affleck has raced so far. He’s the winner of 13 races in New Zealand including the Taylor Mile in 2015, the Northern Southland Cup in 2016 and the Green Mile at Methven in 2014. He was also placed third in the 2015 New Zealand Trotting Cup and ran a close second in the New Zealand Free For All at Addington. Mossdale Connor after his win in the Northern Southland Cup   -photo Bruce Stewart And his favourite memories of the horse? “My best memories were the Taylor Mile as well as running third in the New Zealand Cup then we thought we’d won the Free For All as well as the Northern Southland Cup.” photo Bruce Stewart Unfortunately Mossdale Conner was tragically lost in the United States after a battle with cancer. He had only raced six times for his American trainer Peter Tritton, winning four, including the $150,000 Ben Stafford Junior Invitational - pacing the mile in 1.49. “He was the horse. The fella that bought him was pretty sad to. He thought he was going to be something really special. While he was here we’d treated the horse for a cancer growth on his shoulder. Brendon Bell (vet) didn’t want to cut it out in case it interfered with the muscles. The buyer knew all about that before he bought him. Whether it was connected I don’t know.”  Affleck is no longer breeding from Mossdale Kara. “She had an accident and the last few years we’ve tried embryo transplant and it hasn’t worked.” But he is breeding from some of her daughters. Mossdale Sue, which is a full sister to Mossdale Conner, has just left her first foal – a filly by Mach Three while Mossdale Rose although still racing is due to retire as she’s in foal to Sweet Lou. Mossdale Kara wasn’t the only mare Affleck tried breeding from. In the late 1990s he bought On Leave from Ossie Throp. “We had a whisky to confirm the deal.” She was by Majestic Chance out of On Patrol. Affleck bred twelve foals out of her with the best being Mossdale Ross which won twelve races in Australia. In the early days Affleck had his horses trained by Hori Lee and Kirk Larsen but now they’re all trained at Woodend Beach by Greg and Nina Hope. It’s a relationship that goes back to 1998. “We had two at the sales and one didn’t sell and Anthea Sharp who had prepared the horses recommended that we send it to Greg. He went halves in it. When we went there Ben was barely walking - that was twenty odd years ago.” The one they sold was Mossdale Jane, whilst the horse that went to the Hopes was Mossdale Cam (Camtastic – Taurus Ali). It won one race before Brian Meale bought him and exported him to America where he won another five races. It was the beach training Greg and Nina Hope could provide that appealed to Affleck. “I remember one of the Southland trainers – it might have been Tony Barron went up to Brighton Beach before he went to Auckland. I reckon you could just about see the horses smiling. It was better than running round in Southland in a circle. If I was a horse I’d want to be on the beach.” Consequently all of  Affleck’s race horses go to Greg and Nina Hope. “We’ve got a lot of respect for the Hopes, Ricky (May) and Ben (Hope) .”      Mossdale Major’s next foal is a yearling colt by Mach Three. “John Yesburg likes that one and we’ll race him.” One stallion that’s nicked with the Mossdale breed is Bettor’s Delight. “I’m not a big studier of pedigree but when you look at all the big races the Bettor’s Delights aren’t too far away.” Although they probably moved to Cromwell for quieter times, I suspect Archie and Margaret are still kept pretty busy with grandchildren, cherries and a few trips to the races, where there’s bound to be a few more Mossdales winning races.   Bruce Stewart

It was a magic day for southern breeders at the NZB Standardbred National Sale in Christchurch today (Wednesday) with two Southern Bred Southern Reared colts topping the sale, and plenty of others providing a great return for their owners. The Shard, owned by Debbie and Mark Smith of Shard Farm, and Beaudiene Bigtime owned by Dave Kennedy of Bayswater both sold for $170,000. Emilio and Mary Rosati of New South Wales purchased The Shard whilst another regular Australian buyer Jean Feiss, put in the winning bid for Beaudiene Bigtime. “Unbelievable,” said Kennedy when I spoke to him a few hours after the sale. And the follow up question had to be; was that a surprise? “Was it ever. I knew I had a good colt but I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get $170,000. As the day went on I was starting to get a bit worried because the big buyers had been spending their money.” But worry soon turned into elation as Kennedy sat on the sideline watching the bidding war unfold. “It was an unbelievable experience I can tell you. Stonewall Stud were chasing him and Nigel McGrath had a go. There were quite a few onto him. I’m pretty sure Stonewall were the under bidders.” At the end of the day though, it was Jean Feiss who walked away with the Bettor’s Delight - Beaudiene Maja colt. “He’d be the nicest colt I’ve handled. He’s so intelligent and so willing to work with you every step of the way.” Topping the Christchurch sale is becoming a regular occurrence for SBSR. Chicago Cub bred by John and Katrina Price was the top lot last year, selling to Emilio and Mary Rosati for $190,000. In 2016 Shard Farm prepared Mach Shard to sell for $200,000, whilst back in 2015 Bollinger sold for $200,000, and in 2014 Beaudiene Beaufighter was top of the pile. Kennedy said he had a feeling this year’s sale was going to be special for the SBSR group of breeders. “I said to John (Stiven) and Debbie (Smith) that the Southland team had the best group of yearlings that they’ve ever travelled up to Christchurch with. I knew damn well there would be some money coming our way. It was a great day for the Southern boys and girls.” Buyers on the SBSR Tour at Dave and Dawn Kennedys - Photo Bruce Stewart Another success story was Captain Nemo, a Captaintreacherous colt owned by John and Katrina Price of Winton which sold for $110,000. He was first spotted on the SBSR Bus Tour by Ray Green who took a keen interest in him and has now bought him for Lincoln Farms. The Prices also sold their Bettor’s Delight colt out of Surprise Party – another one bought by Jean Feiss, for $100,000. Shard Farm also had a $100,000 sale with Romeo Shard selling to Kennard Bloodstock. Other good SBSR sales were: $90,000 for the Tuapeka Lodge colt The Frankster (Bettor’s Delight – Tuapeka Maddy), $90,000 for Arden’s Ace (Art Major-Venus Serena) and $82,500 for Captain Arden (Captaintreacherous – Southwind Arden). Kennedy says a big part of the success today stems from the SBSR Bus Tour which gives prospective buyers the opportunity to take a look at the yearlings on offer in their own environment, whilst showcasing Southland. One of the trainers on the tour, Ray Green, commented to Kennedy that he could see why Southern Reared horses are so good. “Ray said with all the green grass their bones are so much better. And the climate is so conducive to breeding top animals.” Kennedy states “You can’t buy advertising like that. The guys that come down on the tour just can’t believe it. Bringing the buyers down has been one hell of a win for us.”    Bruce Stewart

Winton breeder Michelle Caig has felt this is going to be her year. Having prepared horses for the national yearling sales for the past twenty two years, this year she felt that her Love You colt All Heart, had qualities that would attract good money at the NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sale in Christchurch and she was right. At the Sale today, the colt was knocked down to New South Wales buyers Emilio and Mary Rosati for $90,000 after a spirited bidding battle between Barry Purdon and the Rosatis. The price was the second highest in the trotters section. “He looked a picture and he was the nicest colt at the sale. Peter Lagan (Standardbred Manager) actually said that. Everybody that came around to look at him said he was very hard to fault, including Barry Purdon.” It was strange not seeing Caig lead All Heart into the ring but there was a good reason. “He nicked me in the nose yesterday and I’ve got a swollen and very sore face. He was just being a dick. I was feeling tired today but Debbie Smith and her girls have been a wonderful help. Just this last month he’s got a wee bit colty so he’s spent a lot of time on the jogger.” However that’s about to change. “Mary said in front of him, that he was going to be gelded. And he walked away in disgust. He seemed to know he was going to have a little operation.” All Heart, which was named after his second dam Merinai due to the courage she showed on the race track, carried a reserve of $60,000. “I got $60,000 for the Angus Hall (yearling colt) last year and I thought he (All Heart) was worth more purely because he was by Love You. The Angus Hall was a lovely colt but being by Love You this horse had that French X factor.” “He will miss me because I’ve had him since he was a few months old and he’s been pretty spoilt really.” All Heart’s dam Sun Mist has done an exceptional job at stud producing seven foals all of which have been winners, including Pretty Sunday the winner of fifteen races,  and Son Of Earl which won twenty three. “I’ve now had her (Sun Mist) for ten years. Every one of her foals has won. You cannot fault her. She’s a beautiful broodmare who does her foals well. She never raced and sometimes I think they’re the best broodmares. I believe some of those top mares have strong male genes and they don’t breed on until perhaps the second or third generation.” Sun Mist’s latest winner She’s Like The Wind looks very talented, and won her only start at Omakau in track record time. “I’ve also got a Pres filly which I love. She’s just a baby and Sun Mist is in foal to Pegasus Spur. I’ll probably go back to Love You this year.” Caig has sent her mares to cheaper stallions in the past but now feels it’s not the best way to go. “Once upon a time you just went to the cheaper stallions but you learn you can’t if you want to survive in the world of commercial breeding. Those bigger operators have loads of money and to compete you just need to have quality mares.” Other southern news to come out of the trotters sale today; Branxholme owners Lindsay and Ian Thomson paid  $42,000 for a half-brother to their quality three year old trotter Get Lucky, whilst neighbour Nathan Williamson sold his Father Patrick colt out of Kylie Ree for $42,000. He was bought by Barry Purdon. A good day for Southern Bred Southern Reared yearlings on day one of the National Sale and more good prices are expected tomorrow when the pacers take centre stage.   Bruce Stewart

The owner of Australasian stud Alabar Alan Galloway, was in Southland last week on the SBSR bus trip. He was also here on other harness racing business in particular to secure the down under breeding rights to kiwi bred stallion Lazarus. Southland was his first port of call and I suspect possibly the easiest part of his journey to New Zealand. Galloway was last in Southland over twenty years ago when he came here with John Coffey to conduct breeding seminars. “The place is beautiful. I’ve just sent some pictures of the big round bales to my son and said ‘you have to lift your game,” he said when I spoke to him at Dave and Dawn Kennedy’s Bayswater property in Western Southland. Alabar was founded in Adelaide in the 1950s by Alan’s parents Alan senior and his wife Barbara. The name is derived from the letters of their first names. The main breeding operation is based on 2000 acres in the Echuca area, but plans are afoot to move into the New South Wales market. “When we do, we’ll be eligible for their stakes races there. You have to look at the states in Australia as individual countries because they’re individually funded. To get access to the money you’ve got to have a stallion base in that particular state so that means buying a property and setting up a base and moving stallions there.” Galloway says he was born into the business.  “I knew what I wanted to do when I was six years old.” Before taking up the reins from his father, who is 92, he travelled the world expanding his knowledge and experience, but he still likes to be hands on.  “At one point we bred three thousand foals in four months. I think that would be a record. I like to be hands on. I’ve got scars all over my wrists and teeth marks where horses have had me on the ground trying to kill me.” Bloodstock agent John Curtin, who was travelling with Galloway, says the Australian is world renowned for his technical knowledge of breeding and semen transportation. But perhaps the most important business for the Alabar boss is to meet Duncan Taylor one of the brothers that bought and raced New Zealand champion racehorse Lazarus. “We’re trying to negotiate a deal as are all the other big farms. We’ve been interested in him since his three year old days.” The process has been going on for a while but Curtin, who is helping to broker the deal says it should be done once the yearling sales are over. During the process Galloway has gained a lot of respect for the way in which Taylor Made Stallions do business. “Not many school me on the breeding industry but the Taylor boys have. They took him (Lazarus) up there, raced him, and syndicated him for about four million American. So they’re out already. They won a million up there with him and now they’re bringing him back here and they’re going to sell him for another four million. He’s one of those horses you see every decade.” Lazarus which won 37 of his 51 starts and amassed $4,125,988 is currently standing in the State of New Jersey which New Zealand Bloodstock agent John Curtin described as being dead in the water until they got a big cash injection from the government. Lazarus is the only stallion standing in the State and has a full book of mares in this first visit to the breeding barn. Galloway is hopeful that Alabar can win the down under breeding rights but says it may have to be in partnership. “You can’t give him to anyone because you need the infrastructure to manage a horse like that. I feel as though we’ve got the advantage with location here and in Australia and we’ve got sixty percent of the market.” Alabar has certainly grown since the early days when they stood Kentucky, Windshield Wiper, Whats Next and Golden Greek. In recent years Art Major has been on their books and in 2011 they merged their stallion operation with The Stallion Station which meant Mach Three and Courage Under Fire were added to the Alabar roster. Their quality breeding bloodstock now includes A Rocknroll Dance, He’s Watching, Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe and Sportswriter. More recently Always Be Miki joined the breeding barn in a deal struck with Nevele R Stud. Galloway says Alabar Australia now wants to venture into the syndicate of racehorses and copy the model Graeme Henley from Alabar New Zealand has used with success through the deeds of Chase Auckland. “We’re copying Graeme. We need to promote that. I kind of dropped the ball there. We left that to private enterprise. We’ll be going to the public with the colt and the filly we bought in Melbourne, we want new people coming into the game.” Galloway is excited about the new venture and sees the syndicate attracting new faces to the harness industry. “It’s the first time it’s been done in Australia for a while. You need a dealer’s licence which are hard to get these days. Too many crooks in the past have given it (syndication) a bad name and the government have made it very very difficult. We’ve got industry backing with HRA and Harness Racing Victoria because they know Alabar is a blue chip company which stands by it’s name.”   The filly Alabar purchased for $42,000 is by Art Major out of Mint Julep. Mint Julep is a daughter of Jadah Rose the winner of thirty one races including the 2005 Vicbred Super Series for two year old fillies and the 2006 Vicbred Super Series for three year old fillies. So there’s a nice pedigree there. The colt which will be syndicated is by Bettor’s Delight out of Rye Hanover which was purchased for $65,000. “We thought he was way undervalued. We thought he was a hundred to a hundred and twenty thousand dollar colt.” Rye Hanover was initially bred from in America leaving four foals before she was bought to New Zealand where she left Blazin N Cullen the winner of twenty six races and Rockin Roll Lad which won nine. Rye Hanover was one mare bought here in a package deal organised by Curtin.  “She was one of the best bred mares and cost $300,000 US which was big money back then,” he said. The syndicates will be managed in Australia by Brett Coffey.   Alabar is also upgrading its broodmare band and this week purchased Nike Franco which won thirty two races, paced a mile in 1-48.0 and was the fastest mare in North America in 2017. “We spent a million bucks in the last twelve months just on mares in the Australian and New Zealand market but we’re looking at the US market as well. We’re seriously making some bids on some well-known mares at the moment.” So exciting times ahead as Alabar continues to expand its business and who knows, Lazarus could be part of that.   Bruce Stewart

Southland reinsman Brent Barclay joined a very small number of Southland horsemen to drive 700 winners when today on his home track be drove Nota Bene Denario to win. Clark Barron 1,038, Allan Beck 816, Nathan Williamson 749 and Henry Skinner 717 are the only other drivers in the province to have achieved the milestone. “That was my main aim this year and to get it early is really good,” he said after winning on the Brett Gray trained four year old. His first winner was Dougie Wood at Westport in 1989, a trotter that was trained by his father Keith. “I was only about sixteen then. It was a long time ago.” Over the thirty one seasons he’s been driving he’s driven some very good horses and says he seems to have had a special affinity with fillies and mares. “I’ve driven a lot of good fillies actually like Whanau, Natal Franco and Windermere Girl. A lot of them were three year old fillies.” Early in his career when he worked for Noel Creighton he drove the very good OK Bye juvenile pacer Corumba. He reined him to win the 1995 Welcome Stakes and 1995 Kindergarten Stakes. “Corumba was a bit of a standout. I was pretty young when I drove him. I think if I drove him now he’d be a lot better horse.” The following season he won the Southern Supremacy Stakes with Corumba. In all, Barclay drove him to win six times. He’s had stints with Findlay Road trainer Wayne Adams for whom he’s driven eighty two winners with the first being Nevalookbak in 1997). Other trainers he’s worked for include Kirk Larsen, Bud Baynes and in Australia Darrell Graham and Grant Dixon. These days he’s firmly attached to Brett Gray’s Ryal Bush stable and he feels he’s driving as good as ever. “This year I’m probably driving as good as I ever have. I said to Lauren (partner Lauren Pearson) and Brett at the start of the season that I’ve got to be a bit more aggressive this year especially at the start. If you get back these days and try to get round them with the speed they’re going it’s just too hard. But there are certain horses you can’t go forward and burn too much.” The win on Nota Bene Denerio was Barclay’s twenty seventh of the current season and his seventy second for Gray. “For me to get this many wins early in the season is really good. We’ve had a really good run with Brett since we’ve come back from Australia. Couldn’t have worked out better.” Barclay has ventured a couple of times to Australia to try his luck, linking up with Darrell Graham and the powerful Grant Dixon stable.     “Over there it’s just attack attack attack. There’s no looking after them there. I thought I’d go well when I went there but it backfired a bit. But we still had a good run. I might have driven 50 winners while I was there. You were only ever on the second stringers and when you’re working for a stable like that you very rarely got any outside drives.” Of the 700 New Zealand winners the horses he’s driven the most times to win (seven) have been Bonnie Lass, Be Not Afraid and Jamie.   Barclay rates Duke Of Wellington as the most underrated horse he’s driven. He won five races with him last season including the Southern Supremacy Stakes. “Last year he was still untapped I thought. We worked him up before he went over to Australia and I thought he’d improved immensely.” Nice trotters he’s driven include Be Not Afraid (7), Johnny Wishbone (6) and Smokey Mac (6). “I’m very lucky because I’ve driven 140 odd trotting winners and to be fair I think Full Noise is going to get there (best he’s driven). I really like driving a nice fluent trotter. Full Noise is a bit like that – he’s got a great gait, a good turn of speed and can also stay. I drove a trotter early on called Be Not Afraid. She was only one dimension. She was very fast, could trot all the way with a beautiful gait. This day and age she wouldn’t have won as many races.” But back to today’s 700th winner. It was fitting that it was for Brett Gray and that it carried the number seven saddle cloth. “People were probably saying he’s been disappointing but it was probably a drop in grade for him today. Brett’s changed a bit of gear on him and he just felt like his old self. He feels like quite a sharp horse.” After leading early Barclay decided to hand up to Allan Beck when he came round on Bettor Enforce.   “He felt super in front but when Becky came round I thought it was the one to beat. It worked out perfect.”   For the record the winning margin was one and a quarter lengths. All done and dusted - Photo Bruce Stewart  The Brent Barclay 700 winner’s fact file: Combined pacers and trotters: 7,355 starts, 700 winners, 684 seconds, 665 thirds for stakes of $4,765,303. Just trotters: 1266 starts, 142 winners, 130 seconds and 94 thirds. Only four other Southland drivers have driven more winners: Clark Barron (1,038), Allan Beck (816) Nathan Willliamson (749) and Henry Skinner (717). First winner was the trotter Dougie Wood on Boxing Day at Westport in 1989. He was trained by his father Keith. Trainers worked for: Keith Barclay, Wayne Adams, Noel Creighton, Kirk Larsen, Bud Baynes and Australian trainers Darrel Graham and Grant Dixon. Biggest winner: Corumba 1995 Welcome Stakes and 1995 Kindergarten Stakes. Southland Junior Driver of the Year 1996 (10 wins) and 1997 (11 wins) Southland races he’s won three times: Kindergarten Stakes; Corumba (1995), Bought In The Pub (2003) and Waikiki Beach (2015) Southern Country Cups Final; Bonnie Lass (2001), Whanau (2003) and The Jaccka (2005). AON Insurance Equine Stakes; Magnetic Chip (1993), Whanau (2002) and Shezacullengirl (2018) Supremacy Stakes; Corumba (1996), Looksaflyer (2006) and Duke Of Wellington (2018) Best season; 2003 – 51 winners Winner of 2006 Interprovincial Drivers Championship Winner of Southland Drivers Premiership in 2006 (37), 2007 (44) and 2008 (38) Trainers- Most winners for: Wayne Adams (82-First: Nevalookbak 1/11/1997), Brett Gray (72-First: Frampton Bromac 8/1/2009), Lauren Pearson (41 – First: Eweburn Sun 8/1/2004) and Roger, John and Katrina Price (31 – First: Gypsy Road 26/11/1999) Four winners in a day: Wairio 15th December 2006 (Jamie, Hillarys Home, Mystic Sun and Fino) and Forbury Park 13th December 2002 (Cool Chip, Sayonara, Cripple Creek and Jay See Eye). Biggest wins: 2018 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Duke Of Wellington) 2015 Alabar Kindergarten Stakes (Waikiki Beach) 2006 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Looksaflyer) 2006 NZ Sapling Stakes (Jackson Brown) 2005 Nevele R Stakes (Western Dream) 2003 Southern Country Cups Final (Whanau) 2001 Southern Country Cups Final (Bonnie Lass) 1999 Southland Oaks Final (Windermere Girl) 1995 New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes (Corumba) 1995 New Zealand Welcome Stakes (Corumba) 1996 Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Corumba) Biggest winners; Bonnie Lass (7) Be Not Afraid (7) Jamie (7) Johnny Wishbone (6) Smokey Mac (6) Corumba (6) Duke Of Wellington (5) Windermere Girl (5) Natal Franco (5) Scotty Mac (5)   by Bruce Stewart

It appears that Riversdale trainer Brent McIntyre was meant to hang onto giant American Ideal pacer Huntaway. As an unraced horse he could easily have slipped through his fingers on a number of occasions. “I originally bred him for the sales but he was such a big lanky skinny thing that I was actually going to put him down. He was awful. In the end we tossed up whether or not to break him in and when we did he actually went all right,” he said. Roxburgh trainer Rory McIIwrick then leased him.                                        “I think he took him to the trials but he got lame in the back leg so he pulled the pin. A couple of other guys wanted to lease him but they never turned up so we started working the bugger and today’s the end result.” Huntaway is out of the qualified but unraced Christian Cullen mare Holly Marie. She’s only left four foals of racing age, one being Annajodi which won three races for Murray Brown and another seven in Australia. Huntaway’s third dam is the 1987 New Zealand Oaks winner Young Eden. “He’s five, so old enough to go to school but he’s just needed to mature. At home he’s a handful but he is getting better. The family leaves a lot of good horses, Ken Barron has had a few of them.” Wanting for his return, Trainer Brent McIntyre, son Kane who part owns Huntaway and good stable client Neil Timms - Photo Bruce Stewart Barron trained Ewie Duncan (8 New Zealand wins and 11 USA), Kenny The Cowboy (2 New Zealand wins and 18 USA wins), Roland John (6 New Zealand wins and 8 USA) and Captain Crazy (6 New Zealand and 8 USA wins). The timing of the win was perfect for McIntyre as he has Huntaway’s half-brother by Bettor’s Delight in this week’s NZB Standardbred Sale in Christchurch. The colt is owned by his breeder Ken Milne. “That’s one of the reasons I started him today.” From the outside of the second row driver Nathan Williamson settled Huntaway well off the pace. At the 1200 metres Williamson flushed out favourite Valiant Charger and got onto its back, progressing forward. At the 600 Williamson decided to go round Valiant Charger and in a good burst of speed was up challenging for the lead. He had hit the front with 400 metres to run and at the finish he had a three and a quarter length buffer on the second horse Hans Ideal. The winning time was 2-57.5. “He’s a nice horse. How good I don’t know but we’ll find out. I think he will progress. He didn’t even pull the plugs on him today. I’ll enjoy a beer on him.” Earlier this month McIntyre decided to sell his unbeaten three year old filly Balcatherine which was also by American Ideal so today’s win helped in a way, to ease the pain. “It was very hard to let her go.” Meanwhile Ashburton trainer Brent White’s hot Southland form continued when quality trotter One Apollo in only his third start overcame a rocky passage to impressively win the Gold Chip Trotters Final. The win was one of four for the country’s leading reinman Blair Orange who now sits on 100 wins for the current season. One Apollo winning for Blair Orange - Photo Bruce Stewart. One Apollo looked to be out of contention when turning in after Whatwillbeewillbee broke in front of him, forcing him to go off stride. He picked himself up off the canvas and started to trot again but was seven lengths from the leader Somethings Burning. In a phenomenal burst of speed One Apollo trotted down the middle of the track to win impressively by three lengths. He seems destined to win a big race at some point of his career.   by Bruce Stewart

Tonight was one of those nights at Addington that Southlanders will remember, with the first six races won by horses with strong southern connections. The Tony Stratford trained Jody Direen capped off some good southern form by winning the first race. Gore trained and owned by Kenny Baynes, she was driven by junior driver Mark Hurrell. He was born and bred in Southland and has only recently moved to Canterbury full time. Alister Black’s quality trotter Get Lucky well and truly got rid of his Addington demons in the next race when he sat parked, got the one one, then lead and won. In some previous starts at Addington he has been a bit wayward, and Black deliberately planned this start to see whether those traits were still there. Tonight’s performance indicates they’re not and the win shows he’s grown up and ready for the big stage. Race Three was won by Smokin By, trained by Mitchell Kerr. Nathan Williamson seems to be the perfect driving partner for the Mach Three four year old, he’s won on him in three of his four career wins. Next up a true Southern Bred Southern Reared gelding Eureka, won for Canterbury horseman Grant Payne. The Washington VC gelding out of Bryleigh Jewel (Elsu) was bred by Keith and Tracy Norman of Brydone just north of Edendale. He’s now won two of his seven starts. The Normans stand Washington VC at their Bryleigh Stud. The dream run continued in Race Five when Over The Love bred by Invercargill jeweller Kevin Schuck beat favourite Winterfell. He stormed down centre track and won easily by an impressive two and a quarter lengths. Trainer Ken Barron has always had a high opinion of the Love You gelding and has been very patient with him. This was only his seventeenth start in three seasons of racing and his fifth win. He’s out of Schuck’s Chiola Hanover mare Cochy Bondhu. Barron, who’s a big fan of the breed, has the mare’s next foal Cochy Malc, a two year old by Dream Vacation. Race Six, the feature race of the night, was the listed $146,250 PGG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Series Fillies and Southland owned Havtime returned to winning form when she scored by a length and a half. Invercargill lawyer Murray Little shares in the ownership of Havtime with his nephew Malcolm and his wife Sarndra of Cromwell. Malcolm and Sarndra also owned the second horse Allaboutdreams, which is trained by Brett Gray of Ryal Bush. In the Group Three Summer Cup the southern success continued with Washington VC gelding Letspendanitetogetha beating hot favourite Ultimate Machete. In the last race the winner Barrett is part owned by Lochiel accountant Stewart Gillan.  A great night of success for the Southerners.   Bruce Stewart

Riversdale owner Neil ‘Ginger’ Timms experienced the winning feeling on both sides of the Tasman at the weekend when Bigandme won at Gore and a few hours later Afterdinnerspeaker, which Timms bred, recorded his third win on end at Menangle in a career best time of 1-49.9. The only down side to the celebration was that Timms had entered a Captaintreacherous filly out of the dam of Afterdinnerspeaker (Luckisaladytonight) in the Christchurch Sales but she had to be withdrawn. The timing of the win at Menangle would have been perfect otherwise. “The Captaintreacherous got a stone bruise as a foal at the stud and she just flicked a leg out so we’re not going to the sales. You have to go there and be a 100%. She’s a really nice filly. She won’t get on a knee or anything like that and six months down the track that leg will be back to 100%,” said Timms. Timms also has a two year old filly by Somebeachsomewhere with Malcolm Shinn. “She’s just had a Rocknroll Hanover filly and she’s in foal to Sweet Lou.” Luckisaladytonight is a seven win Presidential Ball mare which Timms bought at the 2010 Cullen Breeding Disposal Sales for $30,000. The mare has left a host of winners including Cullen Keefe which won five races for Laurence Hanrahan before heading state side where he’s won another six. The Manipulator is the winner of six while Ladys Are Ideal has won five races in Western Australia. Afterdinnerspeaker which is by Well Said out of Luckisaladytonight was bought as a weanling by Ken Barron and syndicated. He won four races in New Zealand before his owners decided to try their luck in Australian where he’s now trained by Shane and Lauren Tritton after initially being with Tim Butt. Meanwhile Gore winner Bigandme is also out of a Presidential Ball mare in Alta Biannco which Timms purchased in 2006 at the Karaka Yearling Sales. “She was quite small and Bruce Campbell trained her. She was a bit of a daisy clipper.” Her first live foal, Jimmy Nga, qualified as a six year old at Wyndham. He won two races from the Gordon and Colin Lee Wyndham stable before heading to Australia where he’s won another four races. “He went shin sore which is unusual for a pacer so I turned him out. Then he got a quarter crack so I turned him back out again. He was in the paddock for a long time,” said Colin Lee when explaining the reason for the horse’s late start. Colin shared in the ownership of Jimmy Nga with Timms. Timms has had horses with Lee family for close to forty years. Alta Biancco’s second foal was Bigandme. He also qualified late in life - at Balfour in November 2017 as a six year old. “When we sold Jimmy Nga, Timmsie picked a young one out of the paddock to replace him. When he was dropping off the young one he tried to talk me into his older horse (Bigandme). I said I wasn’t interested. He was actually in the Macca Lodge Ready To Run Sale and Ben Waldron ended up with him. I told Ginger I didn’t want him if Ben chucked him out.  He said that he hadn’t, he was just cutting back. Once I’d started working him I rang Ginger and said to him that this horse would be twice the horse of Jimmy Nga.” Yesterday’s win was only Bigandme’s sixth start and second win. “He’s a very hard horse to keep condition on. I mean hard. The hardest I’ve ever had. The trouble was I couldn’t get him eating. You couldn’t work him too hard or give him a hard race because the condition would just drop off him. I killed him that day at Invercargill (10th January) when I was three wide and they went 2-41 (for 2200 metres). That really knocked him but he ate well last night so he might have turned the corner as a seven year old. We’ve tried everything. It’s Hanley Formula that’s kept him going. He’s got a bit of ability.” And in appreciation of the work Colin has put into the horse especially with feed, Timms has offered him a full stake from the race at Gore. “I rang him last night and said “that winning stake - you get the whole lot mate. Don’t worry about splitting it in half.” Timms hasn’t bred from Alta Biannca since 2011. “The people next door wanted a horse to bring the cows in so I gave her to them (laughter). I can get her back at any time to breed from. That’s what normally happens when you give them away, their foals end up winning races.”    Co-incidentally the young horse that Timms dropped off is a three year old gelding by Net Ten EOM out of One Ali, a half-brother to The Bull Pen. Lee quite likes him. “I’m disappointed because he keeps going sore on me. We x-rayed the leg and there seems to be nothing wrong so I said to Ginger we might as well just turn him out.” Laughing, he said “He won’t be there for two years.”   Bruce Stewart

Star Ruler finally got his maiden win at Gore today (Saturday) and co-trainer Geoff Knight was happy about that. The most consistent non-win horse running round in the south, held on to beat Futura Easton by three quarters of a length for Knight, his wife and co-trainer Jude, and the Corner Shop Syndicate. It was a winning ‘double’ as the syndicate is headed by race sponsor Brian Pitcher; the Gore representative for AON Insurance. “We’ve made him the patron of the syndicate because he’s only ever missed one of his horses’ races,” said Geoff. Today was the Washington VC gelding's twenty third start and before today’s win he’d recorded six seconds and five thirds. “He’s a great syndicate horse because he’s run a lot of places and today in a $10,000 maiden he’s got the job done. I’m rapt for the horse because he’s finally won a race.” Hanging on to beat Futura Easton - Photo Bruce Stewart  Star Ruler was driven by Canterbury driver Tim Williams. “Really grateful to Tim because he’s stuck with him all the way through. He liked him because he always tries.” Co-trainer Geoff Knight watching the mobile dispatch with Star Ruler second on the outside and heading to the front - Photo Bruce Stewart. Over the years the Knights have been great advocates of syndicate racing and the Corner Shop Syndicate is one of their oldest groups. “Central Courage Syndicate is the oldest and the Corner Shop Syndicate is the second oldest. They’ve probably been with us for fourteen years. It was called the Corner Shop Syndicate because in Oturehua near Poolburn there’s a new pub that started up. It used to be the old Poolburn Pub and the boys used to say 'let’s go down to the corner shop for a beer on Friday night.” The syndicate have raced a number of horses including Lionels Meddle which won four races for the group and Valhalla which won two races and was placed numerous times. “We’ll look for a junior driver’s race next. He loves the grass so maybe we’ll go to Oamaru while he’s in the zone because the one win horses get preference up there.” Wayne Huddleston, Geoff Knight, Jude Knight, Tim Williams and Brian Pitcher - Photo Bruce Stewart  After years of racing a big team the Knights are looking to scale down their Roxburgh operation to concentrate on race horses rather than young stock. “We’ve got the RD 1 and RD 2 mail runs now so we’ve scaled down and we're only going to work ten to twelve horses. A lot of the younger horses will go south to Nathan Williamson and Craig Ferguson for their early education and some of them may even stay there. We’re just at a time in our lives where we want to spend time with our grandkids and do a few more trips. Working racehorses is quite easy but young ones are a big commitment. Unless you give them a 100% the horses (young ones) need to be somewhere else.” They have five grandchildren – four in New Zealand and one overseas. “We’re heading to Perth in March for my sixtieth birthday. We’re all going to catch up with my brother over there and my sister’s coming over too.” Geoff has always been a forward thinker when it comes to the harness industry and he says the wider harness family needs to help boost the diminishing horse population. “We’re at the crossroads really. Most of the owners that are still in the industry are still breeding but I reckon if every trainer bred one horse it would make a huge difference.” Today’s stake was $10,000 for non-win horses after Southern Harness announced last week that all maiden races were going to carry that stake level. “It’s unbelievable. Southern Harness should be really commended because they’re putting the industry money back into the industry. There’s a few clubs that aren’t.” As a footnote one of the Corner Dairy Syndicate members was course photographer Wayne Huddleston. For this race he had to get Kirsty Adams to take the winning photo. Meanwhile Lady Zara capped off a consistent formline when she came down the middle of the track to win the Hokonui Honda Trot for Winton trainer/driver Alister Kyle. The Pegasus Spur four year old had recorded two thirds prior to today’s race and the win was her first in eight starts. Ellie Barron did the right thing for the Teal Pants Campaign when she won the Gore Town and Country Club Trot on Nottingham K Two. Nottingham K Two on the inside winning for Ellie Barron - Photo Bruce Stewart  Barron is the local Ambassador for the Teal Pants Campaign. The win means Harness Racing New Zealand ($200), Woodlands Stud ($100), Gore HRC ($100) and Southern Harness ($100) donate money to the Australian New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group for help with research into ovarian cancer. Later in the day other Teal drivers Sarah O’Reilly (Bigandme), Kim Butt (Sheeza Sport) and Sheree Tomlinson (Hurricane Banner), added to the fundraiser. A great day for the cause. Another Teal win - Bigandme winning for Sarah O'Reilly - Photo Bruce Stewart    Bruce Stewart

American Ideal gelding Burlington looks to be a horse with plenty of potential judging by his win at Gore today. The Brent White trained three year old was having his first start and won by an impressive four lengths. He was bought by Ross McCutcheon at the 2017 National Yearling Sales in Christchurch for $10,000. McCutcheon originally owned him along with White’s partner Alena Henson. In today’s race, driver Stephen McNally got a nice run through from the second row and was sixth early. With 1000 metres to run Burlington was in front but had to race wide to get there. Coming down the straight having the rein run over his rump was all he needed to beat Mighty George. “We had a trial at Ashburton and came home super and trialled up well at Methven last week so we were quietly confident,” said White. The win was great timing for new owners Kevin and Valerie Schmack who bought 25% shares in Burlington just last week. Burlington winning easily with Stephen McNally                - Photo Bruce Stewart. White has had the gelding since he was a yearling and there’s always been a bit of buyer interest in him. “We got him up and running to sell as a two year old. Terry Chmiel drove him and he trialled awful. We came home and found out that he had a lung infection so we just gave him a spell. He’s a big raw boned bugger so we’ve given him a bit of time. I like all the American Ideals. They’re all laid back. He’s just a lovely natured horse really, that wants to run.” White says Burlington is likely to return for the next Nuggets Final at Invercargill on the 3rd March before looking at the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland meeting six days later. “He’ll definitely come down for the Nuggets Final, then we’ll just take it race by race. Three of the owners come from Nelson so they’d dearly love to have him in Nelson in the winter time.” Burlington is out of the Live Or Die mare Last Port Of Call who, as the name suggests, is the last foal of the very good producer Port Medley which received a Broodmare Excellence Award in the 2005-2006 season. She left fifteen foals all of whom raced, and twelve were winners. They included Falcon’s Medley (16 wins) and Lively Medley (20 wins). It’s a family that Southland knows well, with which owner Peter Marshall and former Southland trainer Tony Barron have had lots of success. Meanwhile Whites progressive trotter One Apollo was beaten by a nose by back marker Jen Jaccka in the feature trot of the afternoon. It was Jen Jaccka’s ninth career win.   Bruce Stewart for Southland Harness Racing

The win by Dipendra on Thursday at Wyndham was very much a family affair for veteran Winton trainer Tony Stevens. As son Richard drove the squaregaiter to an all the way win, plenty of the Stevens family were on hand to enjoy the victory. “He’s had leg problems and he also ties up. Dad’s really done a great job because he’s a family pet. He’s just been pottering round with him day in day out,” said Richard after the win. The nine year old Monarchy gelding has only started twenty nine times. His career commenced as a five year old and he won at his second start. Of the win on Thursday Richard said “He felt really good but I got away with quite a bit. Through those middle stages we were walking.” Richard and his wife Fiona operated a home kill business for twelve years before buying the Winton Subway franchise two years ago. Last season he returned to raceday driving, taking out a Graduation Driver’s license after a thirteen year break. His first ever winner was Kilbank Craig for trainer Hamish Hunter at Gore in 1991 while his last prior to Thursday’s win was on Oreti Beach in December 2004.   Winning salute - Photo Bruce Stewart “Dad wanted me to drive the horse. It’s just good to win a race in the old man’s colour.” One of Tony’s daughters Bridget was celebrating her birthday on Thursday and another daughter Rebecca is getting married next weekend so the win adds to the celebrations. Dipendra certainly has a rich trotting pedigree. He’s the last foal of Speedy Crown mare Becalm Lobell which won six races. As a broodmare Becalm Lobell also left Sheezadoosie which won seven and was the dam of Sno’s Big Boy - the winner of fifteen races and I Can Doosit which won thirty six races. I Can Doosit won a Dominion Handicap, two Rowe Cups and back to back Interdominion Trotting Finals in 2011 and 2012. “Dad’s always been a gun with trotters. Horses like Three Gees and Sailor Beware.” Sailor Beware, a Scrappy Wave gelding won five races while Three Gees won three. Other good horses with whom Stevens was associated were Wintonian (4 wins) and Beaudiene Fella which won four from just thirteen starts. As a driver Tony Stevens drove his first winner Night Chief for father Roy at Invercargill in 1973. At the head of the horse, and family.                       - Photo Bruce Stewart Meanwhile Mach’s Back returned to winning form in the Marshalls Excavating Limited Summer Classic. Mach's Back beating Santanna's Rocket - Photo Bruce Stewart  His winning time of 1-52.5 is a new track record for colts and geldings, bettering War Dan Delight's 1-53.3. The time is also a new Southland record. The previous record of 1-53.9 was recorded by Fly Like An Eagle at Winton in October 2014. Mach's Back has been responsible for setting up a number of records without winning himself, so it was nice to see his name beside one this week.   Bruce Stewart

The lightly raced Born To Boogie surprised her trainer Brett Gray when she won the Arden Lodge Robin Dundee Crown at Ascot Park today(Saturday). “I wasn’t 100% happy with her coming into this race. I thought she was a bit sharper last week. I thought she had something coming on but it’s worked out okay so obviously I was panicking over nothing,” Gray said. After sitting parked early, cover arrived when Naiya Franco moved to sit outside leader Jody Direen. When Bridesdale Robyn shot round the field with 600 metres to run Barclay popped out of the one one and started to make his run. Born To Boogie took half the straight to get past Jody Direen and she held on to win by a length and a quarter from a late charging Rockabilly Blues. “She’s got a bit of speed and is good with one run. Rockabilly Blues was unlucky. It was our turn for a bit of luck today.” Born To Boogie (10) beating Rockabilly Blues (9)                - Photo Bruce Stewart. Born To Boogie was bred by Northern Southland Stud Macca Lodge and was sold for $17,000 at the 2016 Yearling Sales to Merv and Meg Butterworth. The Rock N Roll Heaven filly started her career with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, but sustained a leg injury. She was sent south to the Gray stable where she qualified and won her first two races. “She’s still a day to day proposition but we’re keeping her pretty sound.” Today’s win was her third and Gray said the Southern Belle Speed Series will probably feature in her future programme. Macca Lodge is offering a black Sweet Lou filly which is a half -sister to Born To Boogie at next month’s Christchurch National Yearling Sales. Meanwhile Annie Fitz caused a big upset in the SBS Bank Mobile Pace winning at odds of 29-1. Annie Fitz winning at Ascot Park - Photo Bruce Stewart She managed to avoid an early melee which wreaked the chances of some runners. Driver Craig Ferguson settled the Bettor’s Delight mare last of the seven runners that were left in the race. With 1400 metres to run he secured the one one. At the top of the straight Annie Fitz peeled out and came down the middle of the track to beat B Mac C by three quarters of a length. This was achieved despite getting a flat tyre at the 600 metres which finally separated from the rim after the finish line. It was the mare’s sixth win for breeder, owner and trainer Ross Wilson. Bruce Stewart

It’s been a long way back for Ryal Bush trained Rakarover. He won his last race a year ago at Wyndham, but subsequently suffered from a quarter crack problem. “It was a pretty bad one so we opted to put him out for the rest of the season. He was going alright at the start of this season but he actually had two quarter cracks; one on the hind leg and one on the front foot so it’s been catch up from there really. He’s a horse that when you turn him out he always gets a bruised foot so he’s probably susceptible to it,” said trainer Peter Hunter. Hunter says Rakarover’s return to racing has been difficult. “He had to come back straight into the Country Cups grade. They’re nice horses so you just don’t turn up and win again. Once he got down below the 60 rating in a grade, where he could show a bit of muscle, he was competitive. His last two races have been quite nice. I thought his run at Wyndham for seventh was pretty good. He ran a similar time to the winner.” Today,  in his fourth race back from injury, Rakarover,  owned by Brendon Fahy, stayed out of the early rush. “I knew he didn’t have gate speed. I knew Vin Scully would have a bit more punch out of the gate.” Hunter placed him early in the one one behind favourite Mighty Flying Art before that horse went to the lead leaving him parked.  Cover arrived soon after when Ultimate Rocker came round to sit parked with a lap to run. “I was pretty pleased to get cover with a round to go. The back straight was pretty hard going.” With 500 metres to run Hunter hooked the five year old American Ideal gelding out and made his challenge down the middle of the track,  letting down nicely to beat a game Mighty Flying Art by half a length. “The second horse (Mighty Flying Art) went pretty good. He worked pretty hard.” Sharing the story with Clerk of the Course Sally McKay - Photo Bruce Stewart.  Hunter and his wife Jo are enjoying a good season with eight wins on the board and a handy team of race horses in the stable. “I guess I’m lucky to have owners that have owned the old brigade and have hung round and used the handicap system. Horses like Ansett Flight, My Georgie Boy and Bold Ruler. They’re handy horses and the handicap system has helped them stay in Southland. I’m lucky in that way and the horses are a year old and probably going better.”   Hunter also has some nice young stock coming through including a half-sister to Rakarover named Rakastella which qualified at Ascot Park last month. She’s a two year old filly by Art Major. “A nice filly. We’ll probably have a go at the two year old fillies’ races. She’s strong and ran a two minute mile rate when she qualified which was pretty good considering what she had done (in preparation). She’s got a wee bit of natural ability.” Meanwhile Hunter’s drive in the Fasttrack Insurance Nugget Final on Prince Abbey didn’t get any luck, having to sit parked in windy conditions. He ended up running fifth behind winner Sounds Bettor which is trained by Geoff and Jude Knight at Roxburgh. Sounds Bettor (3) winning for Matty Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart. The win was just reward for the Bettor’s Delight mare which had finished in a stake earning position  in eleven of her fourteen starts this season. She’s raced by The Central Courage Syndicate. One of the syndicate members Bill Bain also owned the second horse Bunter’s Dream.   by Bruce Stewart

Hot favourite Funatthebeach pulled his army of supporters through in the Group Three $32,000 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup today. “He felt really good and was travelling well. He’s a lovely horse to drive. He wants to win and you strive to drive these sort of horses,” said driver Tim Williams after the race. In today’s feature pace Williams was happy to stay at the rear of the eight horse field, as Queen Bee Bardon made all the pace. It was Shezacullengirl that carted him into the race with 1300 metres to run, before he improved three wide, coming down the straight to take up the parked spot. “He seems to race kindly that way so I thought we’d just take luck out of it.” In turning in, Funatthebeach mastered Queen Bee Bardon and he ran down to the finish line to beat Royal Bengal by three quarters of a length. The winning time was 4-01.6. “Coming down the straight he dropped the bit but he ran 4-01 off a handicap so maybe he was coming to the end of it.” It was the gelding’s fourth Cup win in five starts. This season he’s won the Geraldine Cup in late November, the Ashburton Cup in December, the Central Otago Cup in early January and now the Invercargill Cup. “He came through his race at Omakau really well because he’s such a great eater and drinker so the runs don’t take too much out of him.” And more Cup starts are on the programme for the Somebeachsomewhere four year old, owned by Trevor Casey and Paul Hailes. “We’re looking at the Amberley Cup (6th February) and on the  February 15th there’s a Free For All race at Addington for him.” Williams says Funatthebeach has improved since his three year old season at which time he was slightly down the pecking order amongst a highly talented group of three year olds in the Purdon Rasmussen stable. “He’s improved a lot. After the Jewels last season they chose to geld him and it’s been a good thing. It’s helped him mature I think.” Sponsors and winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart It was the second time Mark Purdon has won the Invercargill feature. He trained Highview Tommy to win in 2011 with his training partner at that time, Grant Payne. Funatthebeach’s breeders Braeside Lodge, are offering a half -brother by Art Major at next month’s Auckland Yearling Sales. Meanwhile War Admiral, driven inch perfectly by Samantha Ottley, easily won the Brendon Franks Farrier Handicap Trot; the main trot of the day. The style of War Admiral winning for Sam Ottley   -   Photo Bruce Stewart At his last start at Wyndham he blotted his formline, breaking on the final bend when challenging. Ottley has now driven the four year old gelding three times for two wins and a second. Today’s win was his sixth from just seventeen starts and it places him third on the leader board for the end of season Harness Jewels Four Year Old Ruby.   Bruce Stewart

The depth of quality in this year’s yearling draft is reflected in the record number of harness racing trainers and owners who have registered to attend Southern Bred Southern Reared’s Yearling Tour in February. Included in this year’s draft are some of the big names in the industry and in addition there’s going to be a sprinkling of new faces. Michael House and Ken Barron have been on all previous Tours and many other prominent potential buyers have been regulars, including Robert Dunn, Brent Mangos, Ray Green, John Dunn, Phil Kennard, Ken and Karen Breckon, Greg Payne, Trevor Casey, Ken Barron, Grant Payne, Tony Herlihy, Michael Purdon, Cran Dalgety, Bunty Hughes, Gavin Smith and Peter Blanchard. The Tour is into its seventeenth year and regular visitor Michael House says as a buyer/trainer it’s a great opportunity to see what’s available and replenish racing stock. “There’s often a good horse hiding amongst them and its wonderful comradery with the boys. It’s good to get it out of the way because there are some horses you don’t have to see later on and you can focus,” he said. The Tour, particularly in recent years has produced some high priced graduates. One of these is Chicago Cub, a full brother to millionaire pacer Chicago Blues. Chicago Cub topped the Christchurch Sales last year selling to Emilio and Mary Rosati for $190,000. The second highest yearling was another SBSR colt bred by Arden Lodge’s John and Judy Stiven - Arden Roanoke, which sold for $155,000. In 2016 The SBSR group produced the top two lots in Mach Shard ($200,000) and Honor And Glory ($170,000) whilst further back Bollinger sold for $200,000 in 2015. His half brother Titanium was the top lot in 2013 at $170,000, and Beaudiene Beaufighter was a sales topper in 2014.  When Michael House was on the Tour in 2007 he spotted a diminutive black Bettor’s Delight colt named Highview Tommy at Highview Stud in Riverton. “I’ll never forget that day. There was quite a bus load of us. He was a small horse but he was very strong in stature. At Dave Clarks he was standing in the middle of the courtyard and everyone was walking around him. He was so relaxed. I was taken by him and I had to have him after that. Smiling Shard was another horse I really loved. Every year there seems to be a good horse.” Highview Tommy House bought Highview Tommy for $40,000 before selling him at the Ready To Run Sales to Hazel van Opzeeland and Glenys and Phil Kennard for $200,000. He ultimately won seventeen races and $1,021,904. This year sees some of the younger trainers coming on the Tour with the likes of John Dunn, Mitchell Kerr, Michael Purdon, Bob Butt and Regan Todd all confirmed visitors. “The trick to yearling sales and my advice to anyone wanting to start out is that you’re buying the horse that is in front of you not its relative. That’s a quote from Michael House. The page (in the catalogue) is only a guide,” he advises. Ken Barron has also attended all seventeen Tours and has seen it develop in that time. “It’s a very well run tour and it’s had a bit of fine tuning over the years. To fly to Invercargill and out of Dunedin has streamlined it a bit,” he said. Barron says that because the three major yearling areas – Auckland, Canterbury and Southland/Otago all have to fit their yearling tours in post-Christmas the schedule has got tighter. “It used to be good to see them early on and then later, see how they’d developed. Now it’s so close to the sale it’s about eliminating the ones you don’t want or seeing the ones you like, to save you time on the day.” He says SBSR has tried to work through this issue but everyone has accepted that the tours are difficult to programme now. “You can’t do it pre-Christmas and there’s very little time between Auckland, Canterbury and Southern. John Stiven has worked very closely with the buyers and tried to appease us all. It’s the only thing we can’t do anything about.” One of the first time visitors on the tour in February is young Canterbury trainer Michael Purdon whose uncle Grant Payne recommended that he should come south. “He said it’s quite a good tour and worth checking out. As a young trainer I’m building up a bit of a client base so you can do these sorts of things. It’s a good chance to look at them while they’re still relaxed and they’re not worried about anything that’s going on around them. You can go up to them and have a good look at them,” Purdon said. He bought three yearlings from last year’s Sale of the Stars; Ringo’s A Star (Bettor’s Delight-Blackbird Fly) for $23,000, Willie Go West (Auckland Reactor – Bettor Go) for $20,000 and One Guz Hall (Angus Hall – Landora’s Pearl – passed in at $35,000. “They’ve turned out pretty good so far. The Angus Hall trotter is on a deal.”  One Guz Hall carries the ownership of breeders Heather and Lex Williams and Michael and his brother Nathan while Ringo’s A Star is owned by Michael Purdon. Willie Go West is also owned by Michael and his mother Vicky. The SBSR Tour will be held over two days - Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th February. On Day One the Tour will visit Price Bloodstock and Julie Baynes in Winton and then Dave and Dawn Kennedy at Bayswater. Day Two features yearlings at Shard Farm, Arden and Macca Lodge combined, Tuapeka Lodge and Wingatui. Southern Bred Southern Reared looks forward to presenting an excellent group of horses for perusal and sale. Bruce Stewart

Robbie Royale was always going to be hard to beat at Ascot Park today. He ran a creditable seventh in strong company at Wyndham on Thursday and today's race was a massive drop in class. Trained by Brett Gray and driven by Brent Barclay he began safely and was allowed to settle into his gait for the first 100 metres. With 1600 metres to run Barclay moved the five year old forward and was forced three wide by Zoned Scarlett which also improved on his inside. Barclay allowed Zoned Scarlett to trot to the front before taking the top with 1200 metres to run. From there he held the lead beating her by three quarters of a length.   "He was good in front today. We thought we'd take everything else out of play by taking him to the front and let him roll," said Brent Barclay.  It was Robbie Royale's second win and the first for Brett Gray who took over his training last month from owner trainer Brian Norman. He's always shown he has the potential to progress further, but has broken in a number of his starts.  "He's a work in progress because he's still got a few rough strides in his gait but he feels like he'll win another couple of races alright. He's just very touchy in the mouth. When you grab him he's inclined to throw his head and that's when you lose him. You just have to go with him for the first three hundred metres until he balances up. We've got a softer bit in his mouth and he's getting better." His sire Raffaello Ambrosia left 50 foals in New Zealand with sixteen qualifiers or race winners. The best so far is Conon Bridge which has now won twenty one races and $264,367. He was good enough in 2015 as a two year old to win a Breeders Crown. Robbie Royale's fourth dam Castleton Queen is the mother of Sir Castleton, the winner of forty four races and of Castleton Pride which won eleven including the 1975 Interdominion Trotters Grand Final at Alexandra Park.  Sir Castleton won nine of his first twelve starts. He started an amazing four times in the Group One Rowe Cup finishing tenth in 1981, third in 1982, first in 1983 and second in 1984. He was trained for all bar three of his starts by Mawson MacPherson. Wayne Smart trained him for the lfinal three races and he won them all.  Meanwhile Star Reactor credited his sire Auckland Reactor with his sixty ninth individual winner; thirty seven in Australia and thirty two in New Zealand. Star Reactor - Photo File The Allan Beck trained mare trailed the leader and favourite Duke Of Dundee throughout the 2200 metres and she let down nicely up the passing lane to beat Duke Of Dundee by half a length with Don't Need An Excuse another two and a half lengths back in third. Auckland Reactor prodigy have now won $1.7 million between them.   Bruce Stewart

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